Walter Benjamin & the Nineteenth Century Today

Walter Benjamin & the Nineteenth Century Today
12 December 2019, 9.00am - 13 December 2019, 6.00pm
Conference / Symposium
Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

International conference organised by Professor Jean-Michel Gouvard (University of Bordeaux Montaigne/Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London)

in collaboration with

Textes / Littératures: Ecritures et Modèles (EA 4195, University of Bordeaux Montaigne)

Conference website

Keynote speakers
Professor Michael W. Jennings (Princeton University)
Professor Marc Berdet (University of Brasilia)


12 December 2019

09:00 Registration
09:30 Welcome

09:45 Session 1 (room 243)  

Chair: Susan Reynolds (British Library) 
Carola Borys (University of Siena & University of Paris 3): ‘Kitsch and the 19th century’s “passion for masks”’
Francisco Camêlo (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro): ‘Toys, miniatures and old children’s books’
Christoph Schmitt-Maaß (University of Munich & University of Potsdam): ‘Signs and Wounds. Walter Benjamin’s Reading of Tattoos between Art, Kitsch, and Language’

11:00 Coffee break

11:15 Session 2 (room 243)  

Chair: Anna Crofts (Stockholm University)
Jiani Fan (Princeton University): ‘Antiquity and Modernity at a Standstill. Analysis of Walter Benjamin’s Allegoric image and Dialectic image through Charles Baudelaire’
Martin Mees & Natacha Pfeiffer (Saint-Louis University, Brussels): ‘The Ruin of the World? Walter Benjamin Reading Baudelaire’

Bruna Della Torre (University of São Paulo): ‘Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu and the critical theories of Walter Benjamin and Theodor W Adorno’  

12:30 Lunch (own arrangements)

14:00 Keynote speaker 1 (room 243)
Michael W. Jennings (Princeton University): ‘Baudelaire and the Will to Apokatastasis'

15:15 Parallel session 1

Panel 1A (room 243)  Chair: Karolina Jesien (University of Nottingham)
Peter Zusi (University College London): ‘Thomas de Quincey: A Prose-Poet in the Era of High Capitalism’
Ambra Celano (International University of Language and Medias, Milano): ‘Benjamin’s influence over Brecht’s Kriegsfibel

Panel 1B  (room 246) Chair: Sara Giguère (University of Montreal)
Wolfgang Bock (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro): ‘Benjamin and Kierkegaard’
Djamel Benkrid (Université de Paris VIII): ‘Benjamin and Nietzsche’s question of being/language: Two tragic destinies’

16:15 Coffee break

16:30-17:45 Session 3  (room 243)

Chair: Sofia Cumming (University of East Anglia)
Susan Reynolds (British Library): ‘Benjamin, Kracauer, Adorno: past, present, future’
Hélène Orain (University of Paris 1): ‘Walter Benjamin: A photographic thought of the 19th century out of time’
Erik Granly Jensen (University of Southern Denmark): ‘Infrastructure and Communication Technology in the Arcades Project'

13 December 2019

09:30 Welcome

09:45 Session 4  (room 243)

Chair: Jiani Fan (Princeton University) 

Robert Krause (University of Freiburg): ‘On the Verge. The transformation of leisure into idleness in Baudelaire and Benjamin’
Sofia Cumming (University of East Anglia): ‘Walter Benjamin’s modern mythologies & the possibility of an awakened history’
Robert Pursche (University of Basel): ‘Archivists in the Library? How Benjamin’s 19th century survived through the catastrophic 20th century’

11:00 Coffee break

11:15 Parallel session 2

Panel 2A (room 243) Chair: Erik Granly Jensen (University of Southern Denmark)
Sara Giguère (University of Montréal): ‘Double or quits: ludification of the economy’
Fernando Araujo Del Lama (University of São Paulo): ‘Walter Benjamin’s phantasmagoria haunts the 21st century: social media and Trump/Bolsonaro elections in perspective’
Fernando Augusto Bee Magalhães (University of Campinas): ‘Benjamin’s diagnoses of modernity’

Panel 2B (room 246)  Chair: Joseph Ford (IMLR, London)
Anna Crofts (Stockholm University): ‘Charged distance: The “as ifs” of romantic irony and Benjamin’s aura’
Christophe David (University of Rennes 2): ‘Thinking Utopia with Walter Benjamin and William Morris: Reflections on Utopia as a Standstill or Rest in the Wake of Miguel Abensour’
Joris Verheijen (Rotterdam Erasmus University): ‘Brushing Bildung against the Grain: Walter Benjamin and the German Tradition of Self-Cultivation’

12:30 Lunch (own arrangements)

14:00 Keynote speaker 2 (room 243)
Marc Berdet (University of Brasilia): ‘Brasilia as a Capital of the 20th Century. A Benjaminian perspective on the modernist city’

15:15 Parallel session 3

Panel 3A (room 243) Chair: Peter Zusi (University College London)
Judith Bordes (Université Bordeaux-Montaigne): ‘Boredom and Erlebnis: paradoxical diagnoses on modernity?’
Mariana Pinto dos Santos (New University of Lisbon): ‘Dreaming the past: revisiting the concept of aura after Jacques Rancière’s critique of Walter Benjamin’

Panel 3B (room 246) Chair: Fernando Araujo Del Lama (University of São Paulo)
Tony Phelan (Keble College, Oxford): ‘Syncretism and substitution: overcoming 19th century literary history’
Karolina Jesien (University of Nottingham): ‘Innervation as Revolutionary Collective Expression. Walter Benjamin and the Body Politic’

16:15 Coffee break

16:30-17:30 Session 5 (room 243) 

Chair: Jean-Michel Gouvard (University of Bordeaux Montaigne) 
Clemens-Carl Härle (University of Siena): ‘Benjamin with Manet’
Gustavo Racy (University of Antwerp): ‘Promises of future, failures of the present. Thinking Walter Benjamin’s 19th century today through the works of two photographers of the epoch’

Generously supported by the Cassal Endowment Fund and the Université de Bordeaux Montaigne


Standard: one day £10 | two days £15
Student/unwaged: one day £7 | two days £10

Registration now closed

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Cathy Collins
020 7862 8738